Guidance for Reviewing Fellowship Proposals


Your review of the proposal is separated into three sections. Please provide:

  • A general numerical evaluation of specific aspects of the proposed project
  • Detailed written comments that you feel will help the panel determine the merits of the project
  • A score that reflects your overall rating of the proposal
General Scores

Your numerical ratings give the panel a general idea of your judgment of the scientific merits and relevance of the proposal. Scores are tallied as part of the final proposal evaluation. Specific guidance on each ranking factor is provided below.

A. Research Plan
  • Is the proposal well-written and clear?  Are the appropriate references acknowledged?
  • Are the scientific objectives clearly stated and justified? Are the methods appropriate to the scientific problem outlined?
  • Can the student complete the project in the outlined time frame specifically set in this Request for Applications?
B. Relevance and Impact
  • Is the research project relevant to Maryland Sea Grant's Strategic Plan and organizational mission?
  • Does the research have a potential to impact beyond basic academic research? Will it have broader impacts such as influencing public perceptions, management decisions, or policy?
C. Applicant Strengths and Potential Impact
  • Does the student have an appropriate background and academic record to complete the proposed study?
  • Does the student demonstrate strong organization, analysis, and communication skills?
  • Does the applicant demonstrate potential for leadership or demonstrate maturity, responsibility and intergrity as evidenced by letters or the career statement?
  • Does the student have a plan to meet with their professional mentor?  Is there a clear outreach program that reaches beyond the academic community?
  • Does the applicant's professional mentor provide a strong letter that describes their role in the project and the student's academic experience?
D. Special or Unique Attributes
  • Does the student demonstrate interest in the field of study and possess the background and technical foundation needed to complete the project and excel in the field? 
  • Will the applicant bring unique attributes or perspectives to the fields of watershed, coastal or marine science that will expand access to science and scientific information?
Overall Rating

Based upon your numerical ratings and detailed comments, a weighed overall rating will be calculated from your ratings for each section. Please note that a rating of "excellent" (1) should indicate a truly exceptional proposal that has the potential to address critical issues and make a substantive contribution over the life of the award.

Detailed Comments

Comments provided here are an essential component of the review process. They are in large part the technical basis upon which the panel makes decisions. Intellectual merit and consistency with the RFP should be highlighted. Comments made here should also address issues of relevancy and programmatic fit. In addition, a detailed technical evaluation provides vital insights that will help applicants formulate stronger research efforts and better proposals in the future. Please feel free to use this space to provide background and justification for your numerical ratings of the proposal.

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